What is a LIMS?

Less admin, more science!

A Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) is a software platform enabling users to effectively manage the flow of samples and associated data to support laboratory operations and enhance efficiency. Through the use of a LIMS, laboratories can automate workflows, tests and procedures, integrate instruments and provide a complete record of all samples, tests and results in the system via a secure and comprehensive audit trail. LIMS helps labs streamline operations by making the move from paper to a digital environment, with the goal of saving time, money and reducing errors.

Key Benefits

  • Management – LIMS provides centralised storage of all laboratory workflow and the subsidiary data required for quality control compliance. 
  • Automation Enables complete workflow automation reducing the possibility of human error and speeding up 
  • Accuracy Assists in producing accurate, reproducible results and ensuring the use of calibrated instruments
  • Integration Integrates with laboratory instruments or other in-lab systems providing a completely digital environment 
  • Traceability – One of the major benefits is the availability of a secure and reportable audit trail that is able to track all data within the system and any changes made to results, test procedures, instruments etc. are logged 
  • Regulatory Compliance – Assists labs with meeting strict regulatory requirements such as:
    • GMP
    • GLP
    • CFR 21 Part 11
    • NATA (or compliance body in each country)
    • ISO 170025

 by tracking and reporting on the relevant data.

what is lims
    Besides for the above core functions, LIMS should also assist with other area’s of your quality management framework:
    • Repository management – Know exactly where at your lab/facility samples are stored
    • Chain of Custody Management – Keep track of your samples even when they have left your lab
    • Corrective and Preventative Actions (CAPA) – tracking non conformance
    • Version control – methods and SoP’s
    • Asset Management – instruments and laboratory equipment
    • Business Analytics – Keep track of KPI’S, turnovers

Who uses LIMS?

It is used by all members of the laboratory team from lab managers to lab technicians as it covers the entire workflow. Any laboratory in any industry can use LIMS, but they are most commonly found in environmental, pharmaceutical, medical, nutrition, food & beverage, manufacturing and quality assurance.

Some reasons why people look at LIMS?

Growing demand for transparency in testing
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Auditable results and removal of human error
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Pressure to meet testing demands with fewer resources
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Identify workload issues or bottlenecks
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Industry factors creating an increased demand on automated reporting and testing
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Pressure to comply with new or increasingly tight industry regulations
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Replacement and/or consolidation of legacy systems
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So what is the real function of a LIMS in the lab?

Essentially a LIMS is a digital assistant for your lab.

Working primarily as an administrator, it supports the lab operations by freeing up time and energy such that the real scientists can conduct their research at ease without having to deal with all the paperwork that comes with lab management.

For more information relating to LIMS and discussion boards please visit the OnQ Software blog and also LIMS Wiki can be a good source.